Aberdeen FC’s Head of Junior Academy, Gavin Levey has worked full-time in Youth football for 14 years. Gavin, an Honours Degree graduate in Sports Coaching and Development previously worked with two other Scottish Premier League Clubs before joining Aberdeen FC in 2006 as the Scottish FA Football Development Officer and Youth Academy Coach. During the time in this role, he was responsible for developing the grass roots game and coach education, whilst coaching some of the club’s most talented young footballers. Currently he is fully focused on overseeing and driving the Junior Academy at Aberdeen Football Club.
Gavin holds a variety of qualifications including the Elite Youth ‘A’ License and Advanced Children’s License. He is part of a strong team of Academy staff and also coaches the club’s Under 15 side.
Follow Gavin on Twitter: @GavLevey
Squad split into 2 groups and organised as shown. A supply of balls is needed as position ‘A’ for each group.
*Players perform a full warmup prior to beginning this activity.
TECHNICAL PRACTICE: SWITCHING THE ATTACK + CROSS / FINISH:
Ball starts with Player (A). Player (A) passes to (B) and receives a return pass; Player (A) now drives the ball diagonally to Player (C) at the edge of the box; Player (C) must control the ball before switching play to Player (D) moving forward in the wide channel. Wide player now crosses for Player (C) arriving in the box.
Rotation: A – B – C – D.
- Quality of passing
- Quality of receiving
- Timing / Moment of movements to receive pass and cross
- Quality of finishing from crossed balls
Two players (W) are positioned in the wide channels to cross the ball (option of adding fullbacks in a slightly deeper position). Remaining players are paired off outside the penalty area – one group attackers; one group defenders.
HANDLING PRESSURE: 2v2 CROSSING + FINISHING:
Play starts with a pass to either wide player (W); Player (W) must cross the ball into the box for 2 Attackers + 2 Defenders – the two attacking players must time their runs to attack the cross; the two defensive players must apply light pressure without fully challenging for the cross.
Alternate sides – Right + Left sided crosses.
Progression: Add central Striker to attack cross – this creates a 3v2 for the attacking team.
- Key focus on losing defenders with timing + coordination of movements
- One attacker must arrive at the front-post area
- Crossing options: low, driven, clipped, bent, etc.
Playing area is created on a short but wide pitch as shown; crossing channels are created on each side of the pitch. A Goalkeeper + 2 Attackers + 2 Defenders work in either half of the pitch; Each team has 2 wide Strikers in the crossing channels. 2 Neutral players play for the team in possession to create overloads in attack.
ATTACKING FROM WIDE AREAS: CROSSING + FINISHING GAME:
Goalkeepers start each attack by passing to any of their supporting players – objective is to quickly get the ball to the wide players in order to deliver crosses into the box. The two central attackers plus the Neutral players can attempt to score from the crosses. Game is continuous.
- Timing / Moment to lose defenders to attack cross balls
- Quality + type of cross – low, driven, bent, lofted, cut-back, etc.
- Quality and type of finishing – head, volley, re-direct, etc.
Defensive (Yellow) team is organised with a Goalkeeper, Back-4, 2 Central Midfield Players; Attacking team consists of 3 Forwards, 3 Midfield and 2 Fullbacks.
PHASE OF PLAY: ATTACKING WIDE AREAS IN 4-3-3:
Activity starts with either (Yellow) Fullback dribbling forward over the redzone line – the Fullback must imitate an interception by passing to an opponent in midfield; The game is now ‘live’ – the attacking team must attempt to play forward as quickly as possible before the defensive team can regain the shape. Emphasis is on playing to wide areas to deliver crosses. If Defensive team regains possession, they can counter to the 3 mini goals.
- Pass to wide players early!
- Wingback supports to cross
- Cross denied, so back around to switch play
- If no opponent closes down the wide player – dribble inside to goal
- Quality + variety of crosses!
Defensive team (Yellow) organised in a Goalkeeper + Back-4 + 2 Central Midfield Players. Attacking team organised with Goalkeeper, 2 Fullbacks, 3 Midfield + 3 Forwards.
OVERLOAD GAME: ATTACK FROM WIDE AREAS IN A 4-3-3 FORMATION:
Play starts with Goalkeeper (A) each time. Emphasis is on the attacking team identifying and creating opportunities to switch play and attack the opponent’s wide areas. Play is continuous.
- Key focus should be on:
- the movement of the players in the attacking third
- timing of runs to remain onside
- creating opportunities to score